3 items added in list of items exportable to Indonesia: exec

LOCAL traders can start exporting medicine, footwear and toys to Indonesia as the Indonesian government recently lifted these items from the negative list of exports.

Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Arturo Boncato Jr. said during the Business Forum on the Davao-General Santos-Bitung Shipping Service at SMX Davao Convention Center in SM Lanang Premier on Friday that this is a welcome development from the Indonesian government.

Those three goods, he said, were the remaining items in the negative list.

Consul General of Indonesia Berlian Napitupulu said they earlier removed the items such as food and beverages, electronic and garments from the negative list in pursuit of strengthening trade between the two countries

“We hope to have continuous flow of goods for both sides (Philippines and Indonesia),”¬† Napitupulu said, especially now that there would be a direct shipping service from the cities of Davao and General Santos to Bitung in Indonesia.

The two countries have common trade goods such as animal feeds, aqua products, charcoal, coffee beans, construction materials, copra, cordage, corn, feed ingredients, fertilizers, food and beverages, fresh fruits, high value crops, ice cream products, lumber, matured coconuts, meat, peanuts, halal poultry, soya, sugar, synthetics and vegetables.

With the shipping service, Napitupulu said it would be easy to trade the goods from Mindanao to Bitung. “This connection will directly boost trade and business connections,” he said.

The shipping service will be officially launched on April 30, kicking off in the city particularly at Kudos Port, a private-owned port in Sasa.

Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Datu HJ. Abul Khayr Alonto said President Rodrigo Duterte has confirmed to grace the event. He said the launching would mark as among the administration’s highlights of the country’s chairmanship of the Bimp-Eaga and Asean this year.

“Having this route launched in time for Philippines’ hosting of Asean Summit 2017 is a feat. However, like any connectivity projects, the success of this route will greatly rely on the consistency of the markets to keep it sustainable,” Alonto said.

The route will be serviced by Philippine-based Asian Marine Transport Corp.

As a take-off strategy, Edrick De Guzman, vice president for corporate affairs of Asian Marine Transport Corp., said they will charge $700 per twenty-footer equivalent unit (TEU) from the original plan to impose $1000. He said the route will be only used for roll-on/roll-off service.

The firm’s cargo vessel, De Guzman, has the capacity up to 100 TEUs, which can ply 1.5 days from Davao, General Santos to Bitung.

With the shipping service, Transportation Assistant Secretary Fernando Juan Perez, co-chair of Philippine Inter-Agency Task Force on Asean Roro, said the travel time would reduce from transporting goods in Davao-Manila to Jakarta and Bitung that would  last up to three to five weeks.

The Philippine Inter-Agency Task Force, he said, is ensuring to make this sustainable. The Indonesia business sectors also pledged to support the connectivity.

“There is really a gold mine of opportunity in this shipping service,” Perez said. (By Kristianne M. Fusilero)

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